Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers picked up right where they left off.
After a 26-point blowout win on Saturday, the Clippers tied up their second-round series with the Utah Jazz 2-2 after a dominant 118-104 win on Monday night at the Staples Center.
The Clippers opened the night on a 13-4 run, and held Utah to just 13 first-quarter points to take a commanding 17-point lead right out of the gate. While Utah made it interesting in the final minutes, the Clippers secured their second straight win over the Jazz to set up an interesting Game 5 back in Utah on Wednesday night.
"We were playing hard, we were competing, but we weren’t playing smart and we weren’t connected," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, via The Salt Lake Tribune's Eric Walden. "That showed with a 13-point first quarter. We weren’t putting ourselves in a position to have success."
Kawhi Leonard throws down wild poster on Derrick Favors
Leonard made a statement at the end of the first half, too, throwing down what may very well be the best dunk of the playoffs — if not the entire season — while putting Derrick Favors on a poster like no other.
Even Donovan Mitchell was blown away, and he had the second-best view of the dunk at the Staples Center.
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, all the way on the other side of the country after their loss to the Atlanta Hawks earlier on Monday, had to stop to marvel at Leonard’s dunk, too.
The Clippers took a 24-point lead into halftime. They fended off a brief 12-3 Jazz run to open the second half and maintained a 20-plus-point lead after the third. Though Utah was able to cut the game down to just 10 points in the final minutes, it was still too late. The Clippers held on to take the 14-point win.
Mitchell led the Jazz with 37 points while shooting 6-of-15 from behind the 3-point line. It marked his sixth straight 30-point playoff game, which tied Karl Malone for the most in Jazz history. Joe Ingles added 19 points for Utah while missing just two field goals.
Kawhi Leonard appears to tweak knee
Leonard left the game midway through the fourth quarter after appearing to tweak his right knee driving through the lane with Ingles. The injury, however, apparently isn't serious.
"Nah, I'll be good," Leonard said on TNT after the win.
He led the Clippers with 31 points and seven rebounds while shooting 9-of-19 from the field. Paul George added 31 points with nine rebounds, and Marcus Morris finished with 24 points.
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